I've been married to my husband for 12 years — we are both in our late 30s and have two children together. When we got together, I was in need of someone to help me get my life and habits under control, and he did just that. Although he is a good man and a wonderful father, he's also very controlling, although never violent or abusive. Over the years this has worn on me, and I am just not happy or in love with him anymore.
At a recent outing, I ran into an old classmate. What began as flirtatious and fun has turned into something much more. I am not proud of it, but I will not make any excuses. What I've realized, however, is that outside of our children, my husband and I share absolutely nothing in common. I want to end my marriage, but I'm scared for my kids; they love their dad, and I know this would break their hearts. I do not see marriage counseling as being effective, because the reasons I loved him no longer exist. I just feel very confused. What do I do?
— Ready to Break Free Felicia
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Dear Ready to Break Free Felicia,
Although I'm sure you know that having an affair is not the answer to this overwhelming sensation of dissatisfaction, obviously your marriage is no longer meeting your needs and has not been for some time. Needless to say, it sounds like it's time for you to start doing some practical planning in the steps to leave your husband.
First things first, end your affair. Then talk to your lawyer about what a separation and divorce will entail legally and in regards to the custody of your children. Once you have everything planned in your own mind, it's time to break the news to your husband. Obviously this will not be easy, but try to map out what will take place in the coming months. Once the dust has settled, approach your children together.
Although you may not want to consider marriage counseling, I think family therapy will not only help your children, but it'll also help you and your husband better understand how to handle this difficult situation. Remember, your kids are going to be needing you both more than ever, so try your hardest to keep things amicable. Best of luck to you.